The Twickenham Museum
People : Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen

General William 5th Viscount Howe
A distinguished soldier
1729 - 1814

General Howe

Military service in Canada and America

William Howe was the third son of the 2nd Viscount. His elder brothers were George (the 3rd Viscount), who was killed at the battle of Carillon, Fort Ticonderoga in 1758, and Richard (the admiral "Black Dick" Earl Howe).

Howe entered military service and served under James Wolfe, a personal friend. He took part in the storming of the heights of Abraham and the taking of Quebec in Canada at the end of 1759. After the Seven Years War he was involved in the training of "light companies" for the infantry regiments of the line, and was present at the review of those companies by George III in Richmond Park in 1774. He fought in the American War of Independence from 1775 to 1778 when he resigned and returned to England. He became a full General in 1793.

Twickenham connections

He succeeded his brother Richard as 5th Viscount (an Irish title) in 1799. His connection with Twickenham came through his wife Frances, the daughter of Lady Anne Conolly. Lady Anne had lived at Copt Hall and inherited Lebanon House from her brother the Earl of Strafford (1722-1791). She pulled the old house down and erected a new villa in its place in 1794. This property eventually passed to her daughter Frances.

General Howe's gravestone in the Holly Road Garden of Rest, Twickenham

William, Viscount Howe died on 12th July 1814 at Plymouth but was brought to be buried in the Back Lane Cemetery behind King Street, Twickenham now named the Holly Road Garden of Rest. His widow died aged 75 in 1817 and was buried beside him.

Queen of the Goths

Baroness Howe, known locally as “Queen of the Goths” for her demolition of Pope's Villa in 1808, was the daughter of his brother Richard, 1st Earl Howe.

Further reading:

R S Cobbett, Memorials of Twickenham, 1872
Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)
People and Places, Borough of Twickenham Local History Society Paper No.47.

back to top